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    Abuzz About Wegmans

    Chain’s ‘culturally relevant cupcakes,’ ‘elegant restrooms’ rule

    Long recognized for its trailblazing industry innovation, Wegmans Food Markets has attracted an exponentially larger fanatical fan base with each new store it opens, which to date equals 81 in six states. It's thus time to make note of one more self-described Wegmans fan in BuzzFeed associate food editor, Rachel Sanders, who earlier this week penned a glowing post about the many compelling ways the Rochester, N.Y.-based retailer moves her.

    In her online ode to the renowned regional retailer, 25 Reasons Wegmans Is The Greatest Supermarket The World Will Ever Know, Sanders declares her abiding admiration for the chain that she professes is “not an exaggeration” to call Wegmans “the single most compelling reason to live somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic U.S.”

    Among the 25 reasons why she believes Wegmans rules the supermarket kingdom:

    Shopping at Wegmans is essentially a journey through a small, beautifully maintained, self-sustaining city (particularly its flagship Pittsford, N.Y. store, which the author declares to be its “most glorious outpost and my personal hometown supermarket”).

    The fresh subs are NOT messing around.

    They don’t just have flowers; they have florists on hand to make any arrangement you need.

    Nothing will ever be more delightful than using the DIY nut butter machines.

    Culturally relevant cupcakes.

    The elegant restrooms are an IDEAL location for taking selfies.

    Bonus for inspirational cheese messages.

    The generic store brand is usually cheaper AND better than the other options (of which there are many).

    Ouch. Using “generic” and “store brand” in the same sentence is the ultimate backhanded compliment in supermarket trade-speak. (If you don’t believe me, just ask my cohorts at our sister pub, Private Label Store Brands). But it's a fairly common mistake, so pass granted, and more on this subject momentarily.

    As it happens, Sanders’ commentary sparked the interest of Syracuse.com scribe Kevin Tampone, who asked readers to weigh in on what they thought of Sanders' BuzzFeed/Wegmans post. For my part, I'll admit to being equally intrigued by the diversity of buzz Tampone's shout-out generated than I was by Sanders’ affectionate countdown of the ways which Wegmans wows her.

    Not surprisingly, many readers were less adoring when sounding off about perceived high prices, lack of promotions and mounting fears of Wegmans becoming too large and impersonal as its store count swells. But the most common theme of comments on the message board – which splintered further into a number of related discussions about its fellow upstate New York grocery competitors – concerned Wegmans' ample penetration of store brands vs. national brands.

    These convergent tales vividly underscore a universal truth I've come to learn: If you ever need a conversational icebreaker, just toss out a question about supermarket preferences. Silence broken. Problem solved. Guaranteed.

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